In our quest for Britain’s most beautiful or quirky estate agency office, we were struck by the building belonging to Haslams in Reading, Berkshire.
Haslams is the oldest estate agent in town. Its former offices were in Friar Street – and when it decided it needed larger offices, it moved all of two minutes down the road.
But the move took months to achieve.
The new offices are in a building originally built by British Gas in 1905, complete with demonstration kitchens where home economists developed new recipes.
Later, MFI were based out of the building and then more recently Confetti.
The building was then empty for some time before being purchased by Haslams almost two years ago.
The scheme required extensive stripping out of the existing retail space back to a shell – including asbestos removal.
The original ground floor was demolished as the design concept called for a new raised level mezzanine floor to be constructed to increase ceiling height in lower ground floor and provide natural light to this space.
Original features were exposed and some restored.
There is a lower basement section which was excavated and underpinned to provide workable ceiling height – this area is currently used for storage but provides further expansion space for Haslams to develop.
After the building was taken back to its shell, the actual fit-out took 13 weeks to complete.
The results are – to use an estate agent’s favourite word – stunning.